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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  November 25, 2013 8:00pm-9:01pm PST

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she just drives around the state and drives long distances between stops. is doing. she's just going to do it that way. >> jason, politico magazine, gets tonight's last word. thanks, jason. >> thank you. chris hayes is up next. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. we are coming off a truly historic weekend during which the president of the united states, on short notice, late on a saturday night, addressed the nation live from the white house to announce the outline of an interim deal with iran, a deal to cap its current nuclear program and move towards a full diplomatic solution between the two nations. this is the biggest development in the relationship between the two countries in 35 years. what the president announced this weekend was the fulfillment
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of a promise a long time in the making. >> i reserve the right as president of the united states to meet with anybody at a time and place of my choosing if i think it's going to keep america safe. >> in 2008, then senator obama said he would do something no president has done since 1979, speak directly to the leaders of iran. it became a central issue of the campaign. >> it's hard to see what such a summit with president ahmadinejad would actually gain except an earful of anti-semitic rants and a worldwide audience for a man who denies one holocaust and talks before frenzied crowds about starting another! >> the conservative media machine jumped on the chance to characterize the young senator as weak. >> but we have a candidate who says we'll talk to the state
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sponsor of hamas, syria's al assad, and we'll speak to them without precondition. >> but obama responded by reiterating his intent to do something that the u.s. had all but abandoned, practice diplomacy. >> if george bush and john mccain have a problem with direct diplomacy led by the president of the united states, then they can explain why they have a problem with john f. kennedy, because that's what he did with khrushchev, or ronald reagan, because that's what he did with gorbachev, or richard nixon, because that's what they did with mao. that's the choice in this election. >> after just nine months as president, obama was awarded the nobel peace prize, but in his first five years, much of his foreign policy has been dominated by the wars he inherited, his expansion of the global war on terror has made his supporters uncomfortable and earned disingenuous praise from
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former bush acolytes. >> the obama administration has clearly reached the point where they've agreed they need to be tough and aggressive in defending the nation and using some of the same techniques that the bush administration did. >> at times during the obama presidency, the possibility of direct talks with iran, once a central foreign policy goal, seemed remote. but this weekend, everything changed. >> today the united states, together with our close allies and partners, took an important first step toward a comprehensive solution that addresses our concerns with the islamic republic of iran's nuclear program. >> on saturday evening, the united states and iran came to an historic agreement to limit iran's nuclear capabilities, a dramatic step towards fulfilling the central promise of an obama presidency, using diplomacy to move towards peace and away from war. and the right wing promptly lost it.
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>> man, oh, man, oh, man, these people will do anything to distract us from how bad obama care is! >> cornyn tweeted, "amazing what white house will do to distract attention from obama care." >> the neo cons took to the sunday shows to oppose the deal. >> this interim deal with iran is in fact a deal. >> you've got to look at this deal as a nightmare. >> taking the break two months in return for breaking the sanctions regime in sounds like a terrible deal. >> john boltone, former u.n. ambassador called the deal a victory for iran. >> it's a huge victory for iran. >> back in 2010, he urged the israelis to bomb iran. >> if israel's going to do anything against bushehr, it has to move within the next 11 days. >> reporter: over 1,000 days without an iranian bomb, still pushing for an attack. former press secretary, ari fleischer, offered the world a
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lesson in spelling and bitterness. erick erickson tweeted his congratulations to iran on their acquisition of the nuclear bomb. over at bright bart, the conspiracy theorist who broke the story about president obama hugging his radical harvard professor -- >> this is a clean bust. >> -- or comparing the president's diplomacy to appeasing the nazis. and once again, the people who have been tirelessly agitating for war are turning themselves into cartoons to oppose peace. >> what was concluded in geneva last night is not an historic agreement, it's a historic mistake. >> joining me now, hogman maj, author of "the ministry of guidance invites you not to stay." he's returned from geneva, where you and ann curry were covering these talks. i was amazed by this, that this happened. i mean, how big a deal is this? >> i think it's a pretty huge deal, because it really puts the brakes on any idea of going to war or any kind of military action. and it gives time to president obama to do what he said he was going to do way back when he first was elected, and that's try to have a diplomatic
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solution to the nuclear crisis in iran. and other issues that we have with iran, many other issues with iran, many other issues that we have with iran. >> how surprising is the speed with which all this is happening? what's remarkable to me is iran elected new leadership. it looks like, i remember two or three years ago, people making jokes about president obama's promise to negotiate with iran. obviously, that's not going to happen. and they elected new leadership, and within months, we're announcing this historic deal. >> yeah, 100 days. president rou hand rouhani said he was going to get sanctions relief and make a nuclear deal within 100 days. he said that in his campaign and he did it, within a few days, depending how you count. when he was inaugurated or how you want to count it. but i think the people of iran made this choice and the regime
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respected their choice this time around and rouhani came into office with an absolute determination to get this nuclear issue, get past the nuclear issue, and i think there was a real will on his part, and i think the obama administration saw that will and said this is the opportunity. so, the second-term obama administration, we can make this deal. and both sides really wanted it. >> there's in some ways a mirror image of extremely different systems of government and different internal domestic political conditions, but there are camps in each side that want this relationship to be bad and see it as maximalizing and threatening and there are camps inside who are favoring diplomacy. what is it -- why have the diplomatic camps been empowered on both sides? >> i think because it's in the interests of both countries. i think it's in the interests of both countries to resolve this nuclear issue, first of all, and then resolve other issues that are existing between the u.s. and iran. and the only way the other issues are going to be resolved is if this nuclear issue is resolved first, because that's the priority, and prime minister netanyahu was constantly threatening to go to war with or without us against iran, and you have to put a stop to that. you have to be able to get past this nuclear issue. this takes time.
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it's not a final agreement. there's a lot of work to be done and we have to remember that, and nay sayers should remember this is not a binding agreement and this is not munich and iran is not the nazi regime. >> yes. i want to bring in congressman engel of new york. what's your reaction to this? >> well, my reaction is, i never quoted ronald reagan, but it's trust but verify. the iranians have not been friends of the united states, and you do negotiate with your enemies. you don't necessarily negotiate with your friends. i think the sanctions worked, and that's the reason why the iranians are at the table. the president has decided to go on this course of action, and we'll have to see. but i'm skeptical. i must tell you, i'm skeptical. i'm skeptical because i think that it's not so unusual to expect the iranians to stop enriching while they're talking. if there are going to be six months of talks, and that's fine, where at the end, everyone says there hopefully will be an agreement where iran will not have a nuclear weapon, i think it's a show of good faith, iran
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should stop enriching. now, the u.n. security council has met a number of times, has passed resolutions calling on iran to stop enriching, and yet, in this agreement, that's not in there. that's troubling to me and troubling to a lot of other members of congress. >> okay, so, there's a few technical things and we can get into nuclear policy -- >> more than technical. >> but it's important, right? so, one of the big things, the biggest win for the u.s. in terms of fear of progress towards a nuclear weapon in this agreement is that, actually, the uranium that has been enriched up to a 20% threshold is going to be diluted back down. so, that is actually a very big, concrete step, and that dilution is going to happen with some kind of international monitory regime. that strikes me as a pretty big, concrete, more than a sign of good faith. i mean, nothing can happen in those six months that brings them closer to a nuclear weapon, right? >> well, look, there are parts of this agreement that are
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positive and good, but i think we have to hold the iranians' feet to the fire. and look, people say rowhani is a moderate. he's not a moderate. no moderates were allowed to run in the iranian election. they were all eliminated from running. there was six essentially hard-liners allowed to run. he's the most moderate of all the hard-liners, and it's true that the iranian people voted for him because i believe the iranian people do want peace, but i think we have to understand that rouhani may not have the ability to make these decisions, that the supreme leader is the one who really holds the power. and let me just say, just a few days ago, he was at a rally where they still chanted "death to america," where they still called israel a rabid dog of the region. so, again, i think we have to be very careful. i think we have to be dogged. i'm for it. i hope there's an agreement, but we have to make sure if there's an agreement, it's not just iran suspending its program, they have to dismantle it. >> is it irrational for iran to want a nuclear weapon? >> is it irrational?
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>> yeah. >> i think nuclear weapons of itself are irrational. >> but the u.s. has one, israel has one, all sorts of countries has one. is it an irrational aspiration? >> i don't know. it depends. and what's worrisome about iran having a nuclear weapon, iran is not a democracy like the united states or like israel. iran is a theocracy. and if iran gets a nuclear weapon, so will turkey, so will saudi arabia, so will egypt, and you'll start a whole race in the middle east. >> but congressman, the idea that sanctions are what brought them to the table, which is what you're hearing from a lot of people, how accurate is that? >> it's dangerous to assume that, and i should correct congressman engel, because if he believes president rowhani is a hard-liner, i'd like to introduce you to some hard-liners in iran. >> there are plenty. and he was allowed to run. i don't think any moderates were allowed to run. he's the least hard-lined of the hard-liners -- >> he's not a hard-liner.
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i can assure you, he's not a hard-liner. >> well, he was the negotiator for president -- >> president kahtani, who was a reformist. >> well, and he talked openly about how the united states -- >> well. [ everyone talking at once ] >> you have a domestic audience in iran as well. and if you don't understand there's a domestic audience in iran that he has to play to in the way that you play to your audience in america, then you're diluted. i'm sorry. but anyway, my point with -- >> i just call it the way it is, the way i see it. >> so do. >> i want you both -- >> in terms of the sanctions, it's dangerous. the foreign minister said this to me and to ann curry and to a few people, other reporters, it is dangerous to assume that iran came because of the sanctions. in terms of the enrichment -- and congressman engel and others want iran to suspend enrichment completely. well, the fact is, the obama administration understands that they will not do that, so, the alternative is to find a way to
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prevent them from -- >> i want you to both hold up because i want to bring into the conversation christopher hill, serving during the bush and obama administrations, during which he was also the head of the u.s. delegation of the six-party talks on the north korean nuclear issue. he is dean of the joseph korbel school of international studies, university of denver, and ambassador, somebody who's been a party to intense and difficult negotiations about a nuclear regime. what's your reaction to this deal? how surprised are you that this came about? >> well, i'm not she surprised. i know that the obama administration has worked on this a lot, and i think one element of what they've been doing needs to be further discussed, and that is these direct bilateral talks that have been taking place very quietly between the state department and the white house on one side and the iranians on the other. and that's where we have kind of laid out a vision for what this relationship could be in the future, and obviously, we've put
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on the table other aspects of iran that are really quite toxic, and that is support for terrorism and support or this sort of unfettered support for bashar al assad. so, there's a lot going on. and clearly, clearly, this is the right approach. whether we finally get there, hard to tell, and whether rouhani is a soft-liner or hard-liner, it doesn't really matter. the question is, is he prepared to go forward on this basis? i think we've given a little taste of what life could be like if he continues on this, and we have to see what we're going to have in six months. but i think it's really a very sensible way to approach it. >> big question for you, ambassador. there's a lot of fear about the idea of iran essentially gaining the system, that they talk and they talk, and meanwhile, they do things behind the scenes that bring them closer to some kind of nuclear capability. how warranted do you think those fears are? >> well, certainly, there's a lot of reason to be concerned about the iranians. they've done things in secret, they've lied about them in the past. so, there are a lot of reasons to be concerned. but first of all, we have a pretty robust inspections system, daily inspections system. we have a lot of national means
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to kind of figure out what is going on in iran. and at the end of the day, if they cheat, they're going to end up with this thing stopped in its tracks. i mean, this president, no president is going to pretend to believe them if they're in fact, cheating. so, i think it's kind of up to the iranians. they have a taste of where things can go. and frankly, all this talk about sanctions, bringing them to the table, maybe they brought them to the table, but they're not going to bring them to their knees. sanctions are not going to be the deciding factor for iran and whether or not to continue these nuclear programs. it's got to be something broader and bigger, and that has to do with going in to be part of the rest of the world. and i think there is enough evidence to suggest that rowhani wants that. >> that is the promise being dangled. quickly, pooman, how much appetite, what is the possibility of an actual big deal, talking sponsors of terrorism, re-establishing diplomatic relationship, the whole thing. is that a possibility? >> i think it is a possibility. it is a possibility with this government, for sure, in iran,
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and i think it's a possibility because the people of iran have shown that's what they want and right now the regime is listening to them. unless we do something crazy or unless somebody in iran does something crazy, the possibility is there, but it won't happen until we first get past the nuclear issue. >> are your colleagues in capitol hill going to give space for this to work? movements towards new sanction bills that the president will have to veto? >> first of all, i think sanctions absolutely brought iran to the table. their currency is worthless, the economy is hurting, and i think it did. >> people are hurting, too. >> look, i hope that this works. i mean, there's no one who wants any kind of clashes between iran and the united states. i hope it works. i have my doubts, but i hope it works, and i think we have to hold their feet to the fire and we have to make sure they don't gain the system, that they don't lie, and if it works, wonderful. i'm for it. >> quickly, though, this is important, will we see movement from congress to impose new sanctions, which would actually violate the terms of the deal that have been signed?
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>> well, i don't know. we passed the sanctions in the house. that's up to the senate. they haven't passed theirs. we passed ours 400-20 on the house floor several months ago. >> and the foreign minister was very clear in his exclusive interview with ann curry on sunday morning in geneva that if the united states passes new sanctions, they will have violated the treaty, and therefore, all bets are off. >> that's a very worrisome idea. congressman elliott engel, christopher hill, hooman hajh, thank you. coming up -- >> north korea as a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction. iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror. iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward america and to support terror. states like these and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil arming to threaten the peace of the world. >> what will neo cons do now that perhaps their biggest enemy is engaged in direct diplomacy? we'll talk about that. is back.
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free-style dispensers. working with our beverage industry and restaurant partners, we're helping provide choices that make sense for everyone. because when people come together, good things happen. today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure, a future in which we can verify that iran's nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon. >> saturday was a dark day for neo conservatives everywhere. in a string of endlessly dark days in the heads of people over a course of a few heavy years there ran our foreign policy and
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were in charge of the most powerful military on the planet. a few weeks ago, neo conservatives were given a stunning review by the country, which rose up in bipartisan rebellion against the idea of a war in syria. nearly 60% wanting their members of congress to oppose the use of military force. only 33% supporting military intervention. thanks to happenstance and some very depth diplomatic maneuvering, the syrian intervention that senators john mccain, lindsey graham and others so badly wanted never happened, but that is nothing compared to iran. for neo conservatives, iran is the biggest enemy they have left. in this 2002 state of the union address, president bush famously declared the axis of evil as iraq, north korea and iran. well, iraq is one of the greatest strategic disasters in american foreign policy history, not to mention a moral abomination. north korea, of course, already has a nuclear weapon, first tested during the bush administration, which basically means there is no viable military solution to the united
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states to impose. so, iran is the last place where the neo cons can get the kind of war they've wanted, the muscular assertion of military dominance, and if that goes away, they are left with nothing. joining me now is matt duss, a left-leaning think tank columnist. a dark day in the halls of neo condom today. >> a dark day for neo conservatives and a great day for america. that's in my view -- >> those usually go together. >> those usually go together. i'm glad you played that clip earlier about president obama back when he was running for office in that debate with john mccain, because i think that is a central argument of his presidency when it comes to foreign policy. he started and won a very important argument that had to do with the appropriate uses of american power. he was criticized by conservatives, certainly, even by some democrats. he was called naive. but i think now we've seen the results. he has effectively deployed all
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the tools of american power, economic, political, diplomatic, military, and he has advanced america's security by talking to our enemies. >> there's a really interesting political dimension domestically to see play out here, and you and i think are both on the same page about how we feel about the architects of the iraq war and the bush doctrine, et cetera. there's been an insurgent wing, the tea party base, that has shown signs of breaking with a neoconservative or the docks orthodoxy that still controls the upper echelons of republican think tanks and political
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thinking. the big question for me is this strikes me as a huge test case. what does rand paul say about this? what do senators ted cruz and mike lee say about this? these are guys that were skeptic capital of drones during rand paul's drone filibuster. they've been much more open to critiques of the overreach of the surveillance state. well, here's an opportunity to support the peaceful diplomatic resolution of a standoff with an adversary. what do we hear from them? >> right. i don't know that i've heard anything from them immediately, you know, just recently, but i think rand paul in past speeches, he made a big foreign policy speech a few months ago at the heritage foundation that was very much distancing himself from neo conservatives, neo conservatism and speaking in a much more sort of less interventionist, i wouldn't call it isolationist. i think that term's thrown around way too much.
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but as you said, i think the thing is, for all the failures of neo conservatism, and we could fill up the whole show talking about them, they still control the commanding heights of policy-making and the elite discourse on the conservative side, but we have seen a challenge from people like rand paul and others. and i think i would also note this, which i think is really significant. last week, marco rubio, who previously had very closely identified with the neo conservatives, gave a foreign policy speech at the american enterprise institute, which is kind of the mother ship of neo conservatism, but he tried to triangulate a way from neo conservatism, saying, okay, there are interventionists and isolationists and i'm somewhere in the middle. even if you look at the statement from harry reid on thursday and friday and today, as of the end of last week he was definitive when they come
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back from thanksgiving they are going to move on new sanctions. harry reid is a bit more circumspect. given the defining importance of this agreement, the implications for u.s. security in the region and the world are huge. >> it is absolutely bonkers and ridiculous if they vote on -- that is ridiculous. thank you so much for your time. >> thanks, chris. coming up, a 30-year-old former giuliani campaign staffer that you've never heard of is the guy who pushed the government into a shutdown. >> this is the guy to lay down the marker. we've told our constituents that we're against this. >> and potentially shut down the government. won't the republicans be blamed for that?
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there's a real question on the minds of many republicans now, and i'm not just speaking for myself, for a lot of people, that is heritage going to go so political that it really doesn't amount to anything anymore? i hope not. i'm going to try and help it to survive and do well, but right now, i think it's in danger of losing its clout and its power around washington, d.c.
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>> well, that's utah republican senator orrin hatch expressing his frustration and a not so veiled threat at the evolution of the heritage foundation, a once fairly stayed conservative think tank that has transformed itself in the last few years into the war room of the tea party right and has engineered one disaster after another for the country and the republican party. it's a group that right-wing columnist jennifer ruben argues has gone from intellectually honest and conservative scholarship to a republican gauge antigovernance posture. the public face of this transformation has been jim demint, the hardline warrior for tea party purity who abandoned his senate seat -- the guy was a sitting senator at the start of the year -- to go and become the group's president. perhaps just as important has been this guy, mike needham, the 31-year-old ceo of heritage action, the koch brothers-backed activist branch of the heritage foundation. even more than ted cruz, who was featured on heritage action's defund obama care forum in august, needham and his group were the driving force behind
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the defund obama care at any cost strategy that brought about the government shutdown debacle. this in spite of the fact that as he admitted as the shutdown was finally ending, needham always knew it was doomed. >> with a democrat in the white house and harry reid with the majority in the senate, what can you do? >> well, everybody understands that we're not going to be able to repeal this law until 2017 and that we have to win the senate and we have to win the white house. >> everybody understands! as you might imagine, republican staffers who have been told by needham to jump off a cliff weren't too happy with his blase acknowledgement of the obvious, and now the knives are out. a nasty, little civil war is brewing inside the conservative movement that is detailed in an amazing article in "the new republic." one house aide said if nancy pelosi could write a check to them, she would. and others see them as willing to drive a truck off a cliff
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with no purpose. as a reminder of how it flexes its muscles, heritage action pressured gop lawmakers today to oppose president obama's nominee to run the federal reserve, meaning anyone who votes for janet yellen will be scored by the group as traitors and invite a possible primary challenge. joining me is julia yoffi, senior editor at "the new republic" who wrote that article which appears online and in the current issue of the magazine. ,a microcosm of where the right is at this moment. we've made the point on this program that it used to be there's a policy shop and the politicians and the propaganda arm goes and sells the message they cook up. now it's the propaganda arm that's running things and that's what's happened to heritage. >> that's right pch and ironically, they've modeled themselves after the center for american progress, which they've long derided as the liberal political action lobbying arm masquerading as a think tank, and they saw themselves get
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out-muscled on the hill during the health care fight and said why aren't we doing this? then citizens united happened, the tea party happened, and they decided we should take advantage of this moment and become like them. >> i am amazed at their influence both with members of congress, the sort of bullying that heritage action has pulled off successfully. they're an $82 million -- i mean, this is a huge operation. they have real, genuine power and clout. >> right. and a lot of it is because, again, this $82 million budget didn't come -- didn't happen overnight. this is a 40-some-year-old -- a 40-year-old organization. it was founded in 1973. now, i think people overstate a little bit this golden era of heritage. it was always kind of the more hackish think tank. >> yeah, it's a think tank. who are we kidding? >> no, it's not just a think tank. the purpose was to influence the vote. >> right. >> there's a reason it's down the street from capitol hill, that it's not across town in dupont circle like the other think tanks. so, the point was always to influence the vote and influence what happened in congress.
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it's almost tragic what has happened. like, it's literally tragic. it was enroded in its dna and this kind of, this bomb that was, you know, in there originally has been exploding recently. >> my favorite part of the heritage strategy on defund obama care and the shutdown was that once the whole thing had happened, they're like, well, obviously, we can't get rid of the thing until we elect more senators. they then scored the no-vote on the final deal, so even if you voted for it at the end after everyone recognized you had to, they were still going to nail you for it. >> that's right. so, again, they are using this brand that's 40 years old that has this huge brand nationally. the brand is plummeting in d.c., but nationally, people don't know that its reputation has been tarnished, so they are using it to bully people on the hill. and so, they say, you know, vote no on this, vote no on that. it's -- >> here's what's interesting, the power imbalance is remarkable. you have a 31-year-old tossing a football around in his office, a former giuliani staffer.
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and there's a quote in the piece that, like it's more than a little galling for a former giuliani staffer to be walking around deeming who's conservative and who's not conservative. but what's striking in the article, and i've seen this time and time again reporting on the center-right, that the saintors are afraid of the groups, the power is with the heritage and this 31-year-old staffer and very little of it is with the, you know, six-term senators. >> that's right. they've leveraged this 40-year-old brand, this massive budget and kind of used this tea party fervor to create this massive national army, and people are afraid of them. >> and they go after republicans. that's the key thing, and that's why they've got so many enemies. >> that's right, instead of informing republicans. i mean, they were always very partisan, but staffers on the hill were saying, before they used to inform us, they used to shape strategy, they were constructive. now they're destructive. they're going after ideological purity rather than something more constructive. >> when you look back, i always put it this way, when you look back at the gingrich contract for america and the kind of
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agenda of the tea party congress, in fact there was actual social policy they wanted to implement, much of it i think terrible, a lot of those things we still live with today, but there was an agenda, and there is no agenda now. >> this is just no, no, no, no. >> this is no, no, this is destruction, destruction, destruction, and that really comes, that transformation comes across beautifully in the piece. julia ioffi from "the new republic," thank you. >> thanks. >> john boehner signs on for obama care and republicans were hoping it would be a cataclysmic disaster. the surprising turn of events next. no, no, no! stop! humans. one day we're coming up with the theory of relativity, the next... not so much. but that's okay. you're covered with great ideas like optional better car replacement from liberty mutual insurance. total your car, and we give you the money to buy one a model year newer. learn about it at libertymutual.com. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy?
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a funny thing happened to house speaker john boehner last week. there he is sitting at his computer, using his very own fingers to type into healthcare.gov marketplace to sign up for a new health plan. technically, he doesn't need one, but he did it anyway. he even wrote a blog entry about it saying how frustrating and time-consuming it was. "after putting in my personal information, i received an error message." he left his desk without enrolling, which sounds bad,
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until you hear it's actually not true. boehner succeeded in enrolling and got a phone call to tell him as much. it was tweeted that a health exchange spokesperson says speaker boehner's office kept speaker boehner on hold for 35 minutes. after lots of patriotic hold music, the representative hung up. and they say after enrollment, some have been receiving an error message. so, it didn't affect boehner's enrollment, and when contacted about it, boehner's office itself made the process much more time-consuming than it should have been. not to mention the fact that boehner could actually get a pretty good deal. he can get a plan with dental coverage and no deductible for nearly $700 a month, 3.7% his annual income, which is not bad for a 64-year-old smoker. these details were left out of john boehner's blog post, fitting since the details of any obama care success are left out of the republican narrative. there is one place where the
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going to be a train wreck, an absolute train wreck, and the other, that we have to stop it now or we're never going to be able to repeal it. but of course, why would those things both be true? the panic that led to the shutdown, this desire to stop obama care before it started was because the right's worst fear isn't that obama care is a train wreck, no. their worst fear is that it is a success. and not only that it's a success substantively, but that it's a political success. and right now, the one place in the country that looks most like republicans' biggest nightmare is, amazingly, the last place you'd guess, kentucky. yep, kentucky, a state that looked like this after last year's presidential election, a state home to senators mitch mcconnell and rand paul, one the republican leader, the other a tea party darling. last month wrote an op-ed that sums up their bitterness offer the law. "obama care might sell in new
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york, but kentuckians aren't buying it." not only are people in kentucky buying it, they're loving it. according to figures by steve beshear, last week, more than 50,000 people signed up for health care coverage with over 45,000 enrolled in medicaid. now, this is a state where nearly one in six people are uninsured. as governor beshear made it clear last month, the people in kentucky are looking at the importance of expanding health care coverage and overlooking the rhetoric of kentucky's congressional delegation. >> people, number one, are eager to find out. they're going on this website in droves. and number two, when they really dig down and they look, man, they like what they're finding, and they're going away with affordable health care for the first time in their lives. >> if obama care continues to improve and if what's happening in kentucky takes shape at the national level, we might soon be hearing more reactions like this one from kentucky. after a 35-year-old man found out he qualified for insurance for the first time in his life, well, thank god. i believe i'm going to be a democrat. and that sound right now, if you listen carefully off in the distance is the sound of senator mitch mcconnell screaming in his dreams.
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joining me now, congressman john yarmuth, audrey haynes with health and family services for the state of kentucky, where she oversees the health benefits exchange and medicaid, and our own ezra klein, msnbc policy analyst and columnist with the "washington post." i'll begin with you, audrey. why are things working so well in kentucky? explain it to me. >> hi, chris. good evening. well, first of all, things are working in kentucky because most of us are pulling in the same direction, and that is, to be successful. you played a clip from our governor. and as everyone has gotten to know him, how energized and heartfelt he is about ensuring that not only is kentucky moving in education but kentucky is on the move to become healthier. we're about the 44th sickest state in the country, and that
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is just unacceptable to him and to many of the rest of us, and so -- >> wait a second. >> his dedication -- >> i understand, the governor's behind it, that makes a huge difference, but oregon is a state where they're very invested, they want this to work it's not the case that wanting it to work is what is making it work. so whatever you're doing down in kentucky is working. i would like you to share with the rest of the class, as it were, what exactly is going on? >> well, first of all, there are several prongs to our approach. one was, clearly, a successful website. and as you mentioned, chris, in your introduction, the health benefit exchange, along with medicaid, public health, health policy, all of that, as well as social services, food stamps, all of those programs are under me in the cabinet for health and family services. so, first and foremost, that helps, and it helps to insure coordination. the other thing is, is that we have brought up very large i.t. systems within our state quite successfully. we're accustomed to working with
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large vendors because of our medicaid program and many others, and so, we know how to stay on top of it. >> you knew what to do, yes. >> and it was really a group of people. we have such dedicated staff who wanted to see this happen successfully for our state and that many people, their dedication, many, many hours. >> congressman, what are the politics of this look like to you right now? >> well, of course, mitch mcconnell has been out there ranting and raving, saying we need to tear out the system root and branch. that's his quote. from day one. he's still talking from the frank luntz republican memo of 2009, trying to scare people, but my good friend audrey and the governor, what audrey didn't say, phenomenal commitment to it, but also the outreach from our program has been phenomenal. i mean, people, going out, talking to community groups, talking out to at-risk
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populations, making people -- creating curiosity, if nothing else, having a booth at the state fair. i mean, all of these things generated interest. but politically, you know, mitch is going to wake up next spring or summer, and people are going to realize that mitch mcconnell has been deceiving them for the last four years, and he's going to pay a political price for this. >> ezra, the federalism, the kind of state-centric approach that's happening, at work in kentucky, was the original idea behind a lot of obama care. it hasn't worked out that way. i want you to explain what that vision looks like and whether this shows how rightly guided that was, right after this quick break. before it even starts? what if i eat the wrong thing? what if? what if i suddenly have to go? what if? but what if the most important question is the one you're not asking? what if the underlying cause of your symptoms is damaging inflammation? for help getting the answers you need, talk to your doctor and visit crohnsandcolitisadvocates.com
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there was a story that came out of kentucky where some folks
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were signing people up at a county fair somewhere, and some guy goes up, and he starts looking at the rates and decides he's going to sign up, and he turns to his friend and said, this is a great deal. this is a lot better than obama care. all right? which is fine, because we -- you know, i don't have pride authorship on this. i just want this to work. >> we're back. ezra, the white house thought a lot more states were going to do what kentucky did. what happened? >> in the original house democratic bill, people forget this, it was one exchange to rule them all. it was a senate bill, and in part because of republican governors and democratic governors coming and saying, look, we want to have control over this. we know our states, we know our people, we know how to work on the ground, it will be better this way. so, this is a concession the democrats thought they were making in part to republican governors to sort of get their participation in the bill. when they did that, they put in this backstop, that if a state
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for some reason, they had a big mess-up, that it just didn't work out for them, they didn't get their act together in time, the federal government could run the exchange. they thought at the time they would do this with one, two, three, maybe four or five exchanges. they're doing more than 30. >> that's amazing. >> so, the one thing that's going on here is they weren't all that well prepared. it shouldn't be working, not let them off the hook if it wasn't working, but it was to be the case that you had 48 state exchanges and then 2 or 3 more because you've also got the district of columbia out there, would be run by the states. >> audrey, this point about -- >> or the feds. >> -- the folks in rural kentucky who don't necessarily have internet access, how are you getting to them? how are they interfacing with the programs, the folks who really need health care, can get it? >> well, chris, we have a great ground operation. we have what we call connectors all around the state as well as we have enlisted insurance
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agents. you know, we have over 1,000 small businesses that have opened applications. and i know many people thought that the small businesses would not be interested in signing up, but here in kentucky, they are. i worked a phone bank. the very first night, october 1st in louisville, we received hundreds and hundreds of calls. i worked it for about four hours for a local tv station. and i will tell you that there are many people in their 50s, 40s and 50s and early 60s that i answered that night that told me clearly, they have never had health insurance ever in their life that they can recall. so, people in kentucky are hungry for this, and they're telling their friends and their neighbors. and once they see how easy it is to sign up, they are telling friends and neighbors and saying, it only takes 10 minutes or 20 minutes, or you know, whatever. >> so, you're getting word of mouth as well. >> so, we're just -- absolutely. absolutely. but we have a lot. we really have both the private sector, the public and the non-profit sector all stepping
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in. all of our local health departments, all of our community well health centers, our hospitals who deal with lots of indigent care, they're all stepping pup. -- up and signing people up in kentucky. >> congressman, let me jump in for one second. congressman, do you think you can see a way in which the poison from this politically drains a little bit in kentucky as this works? >> oh, i think it's already drained from it. >> i hope not. >> actually, i think what you've got is you've got this word of mouth campaign that's going on. people are finding good, affordable coverage for, again, many for the first times in they're lives, they're telling their friends, their neighbors. this is the absolute kind of grassroots campaign that basically undermines whatever rhetoric a politician throws out. so, again, i think mitch mcconnell and the other members of our delegation who have been equally strident about opposing obama care will have some explaining to do to their constituents, because the actual reality on the ground is very different from what they've been telling them. >> very different.
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ezra, quickly, whas what is the big takaby for other states from what kentucky is doing? >> expand medicaid and get your website working. >> expand medicaid. a huge percentage of the people are coming through that. congressman yarmuth, audrey haynes and msnbc policy analyst ezra klein, thank you. that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, chris. thank you very, very much. and thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. happy monday. whenever the president of the united states unexpectedly addresses the nation and it's about iran, it's usually not because the president is going to deliver good news. >> for the past three months, i have been silent on the revelations about iran, and you must have been thinking, well, why doesn't he tell us what's happening? why doesn't he just speak to us as he has in the past when we've faced troubles or tragedies? a few months ago, i told the american people i did not trade arms for hostages. my heart and my best intentions

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